Man’s Inherent Evil in ‘Lord of the Flies’

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Inside every person’s soul is an evil side that remains separated by society until an event summons it forth. In the allegorical novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding all of the boys who have landed on the island were once pure and good children. As their time on the island extends they become more and more evil. Unintentionally, the boys create a savage and competitive environment. Lead by Jack their goal is to have fun while on the island. All of the boys evil side is summoned when they begin killing people and playing it was a game. William Golding explored the idea of how human nature is inherently evil in the allegorical novel Lord of the Flies by highlighting the symbols of Jack, Roger, and the Beast, which shows that certain circumstances bring out the evil side of a person.

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To start, as the boys time on the island grows Jack, the oldest of the boys, forms a new group that focuses on hunting and having fun. The boys play games that include pretending a boy is a pig and hunting him. Later in the novel this results in the unfortunate death of Simon. From the start, Jack has a more arrogant side compared to the other boys. He immediately thinks he should be chief of the pack of boys, but is overruled by Ralph. As the novel progresses, Jack becomes more and more immoral. He seizes power from Ralph and begins a pack of hunters. Anyone who is not with them is an enemy. Piggy and Ralph being the only ones left become immediate opponents resulting in Piggy’s death. Jack represents a autocratic government especially when he screams at Ralph for talking. “Who are you, anyway? Sitting there telling people what to do. You can’t hunt, you can’t sing—’ (Golding 38). Jack exerts his power over Ralph when Ralph tries to get the boys in order. This shows that Jack symbolizes dictatorship in the novel. His arrogance causes him to always want to be in charge, even if it is not the best choice for the rest of the group. Jack’s evil side was apparent at the beginning of the allegorical novel, but when their position becomes permanent, he’s fiendish side blossoms more and more. As one can see, Jack leads the group into doing many wrong decisions by using dictatorship to use his power over the group.

To continue, Roger arrives at the island innocent. He goes along with what everyone else is doing and listens to Ralph’s orders. Ralph begins hanging out with Jack and learns his ways. Roger then helps Jack create chaos on the island. He is constantly is teasing and tormenting the little uns. Roger symbolizes chaos in the novel because of how he consistently torments the little uns. Roger thought it was funny to ruin the little uns work and by “[leading] the way straight through the [little uns] castles” (Golding 60). This creates unnecessary chaos and creates disorder within the community. Rogers personality change throughout the novel affects more people than he may think. In the end, it leads to Simon and Piggy’s death. This is because Roger is one of the older ones on the island, some of the little uns may look up to him and try and mimic his actions. To sum it up, the reader can see that Roger changed drastically from his first time on the island until they are rescued based on his actions.

Lastly, the Beast is a recurring symbol throughout the novel. It is first mentioned when one of the little uns claims to have seen a snake like figure while sleeping. Despite several claimed sightings of the beast, the Beast does not exist and is rather made up. The Beast symbolizes the immoral side of the pack of boys. This is proven when Simon is in the jungle and begins to have a conversation with the Lord of the Flies. The Lord of the Flies tells Simon that the Beast ‘is a part of [them]” (Golding 143). This symbolizes the evil that is inside of all of the boys. The Beast is an excuse for why the boys turn savage. The need protection from the Beast when really they need protection from themselves. The boys never realize this as Simon’s realization leads to his death. The group continues to try and find the beast, but are not able to because of the lack of knowledge. During the novel, the Beast represents the evil side that has been summoned by the circumstances. For all of those reasons the reader can see that the Beast created havoc within each boy when their evil side was released.

In conclusion, the allegorical novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding explores the idea of how human nature is inherently evil through the symbols of Jack, Roger, and the Beast, which shows that certain circumstances bring out the evil side of a person. Jack’s fiendish personality is visible from the beginning, but as the boys stay on the island increases his nefarious side does as well. Roger comes to the island very innocent, he quickly starts hanging out with Jack and becoming worried about the Beast which causes him to react in an immoral way. The boys do not know that the Beast is not real, but the idea of it causes them to do some things that are morally wrong. Most people have a hidden evil side that they may not know of, but under certain circumstances they may unintentionally bring it forth. William Golding uses his novel to portray this idea.  

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Man's Inherent Evil In 'Lord Of The Flies'. (2021, May 23). Retrieved March 20, 2023 , from

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